Parliamentary Question by Ms Foo Mee Har:
To ask the Minister for Finance whether there will be an accountability review of Government officers involved given the lapses in financial controls in grants administration, management of development projects, as well as IT governance as reported in the Report of the Auditor-General for FY2016/17.
Parliamentary Reply by Minister for Finance Mr Heng Swee Keat:
The head of each of the agencies concerned, be it the Permanent Secretary of a Ministry or the Chief Executive of a Statutory Board, is responsible for investigating the cases under his agency, rectifying the lapses and taking the appropriate disciplinary actions.
The lapses highlighted this year by AGO were due to individual negligence, human errors or situations where procedures were in place but not followed. There is no evidence of a systemic weakness within government agencies in terms of compliance. The officers responsible for these lapses will be held accountable and will be subject to disciplinary actions, commensurate with the officer’s culpability and the severity of the mistake. The lapses will also be considered when appraising the officer’s performance.
As of today, of the 14 observations in the AGO report, rectification and staff actions have been completed for nine while the remaining five are in progress. They are expected to be completed, latest by October 2017. The Auditor-General has also said it will ascertain that follow-up actions are taken. As it has demonstrated in past years’ reports, AGO will not hesitate to highlight situations where it finds that agencies have failed to follow up as they had indicated. Agencies are also accountable to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and PAC reports are publicly available.